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NBA’s coronavirus shutdown breaks a mode in NBA 2K20

NBA Today, which picks up where the season is in real life, can’t simulate games that aren’t scheduled

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screenshot of Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors with his back to the camera watching his shot go in Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

NBA 2K20’s “NBA Today” option for its MyLeague mode, which lets players begin a Franchise mode play-through from the current day in real life, is being crashed by the real-life league’s decision last night to suspend play because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A ResetEra user first noted (and we’ve verified) that, lacking any real-life games on the schedule for the near future, the mode’s simulation chugs along endlessly until the game crashes back to the console’s dashboard.

The problem affects MyLeague only. NBA Today can also be used to play one-off games involving the current day. The five games that were originally scheduled for tonight are still available to play.

Other users noted the similarity to a problem 2K Sports’ WWE 2K20 had when the calendar switched over to Jan. 1, 2020. This one, however, is much more understandable. The NBA has suspended its regular season twice before, but both were for lockouts related to negotiating a new contract, and both times the season resumed and the schedule was shortened.

Polygon has reached out to 2K Sports representatives for additional comment about how NBA 2K20 will cope with a league that is on hold indefinitely.

Features like NBA Today, which allow players to recreate or rewrite their sport’s current season, have been a part of sports video games for about a decade. NBA 2K is the only one that applies the concept to an entire season or a career mode, though.

Four games in the NBA were completed last night before the league suspended the season, following the discovery that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for COVID-19. Teammate Donovan Mitchell since has been found to have the virus as well.

MLB The Show has, for the past several years, allowed players to pick out a game from any that have already been played that year and replay them, with their lineups, starting pitchers, and under the same conditions. If no games have been played that day, the mode simply offers the most recent one that has been completed. In MLB The Show 19’s case, it’s Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.

MLB The Show 20 launches Friday (pre-order early access), just as Major League Baseball announced that it has suspended its spring training games and will delay Opening Day by two weeks, in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The National Hockey League has likewise suspended its season.

The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s national basketball championship tournaments (and, in fact, all remaining winter and spring sports championships). Formula One has already postponed the 2020 Chinese Grand Prix, originally scheduled for April 19, and just today, McLaren F1 Team announced it was withdrawing from this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for COVID-19. Unconfirmed reports say that event will be altogether canceled soon.

Update (March 16): 2K Sports responded with this statement today:

NBA 2K20 is a leading sports simulation and our objective is to authentically reflect the realities of the NBA. The suspension of play had an unintended effect on the MyLeague Start Today mode. The issue has since been resolved. Now, users who engage Start Today mode will pick up where the NBA schedule left off on March 11 to play out the NBA regular season as originally scheduled.

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